The Blogiston Post

Politics, money, and war.

Saturday, June 12

various views

Two posts on Iraq by bloggers that we'd like to call attention to. First is a post from Juan Cole who cites a paper by Professor Roger Myerson of the University of Chicago, "How to Build Democracy in Iraq." Be sure to read the articles in the footnotes (links provided).

Did Prohibiting Local Elections Derail Iraq?
Even those who hoped to buy Iraqi public assets for bargain-basement prices should have recognized that, for long-term enforcement of their property rights, these transactions would need more legitimacy than occupation officials alone could provide. It seems clear that the only people who really stood to profit from a policy of denying elections were emigre political leaders who did not want competition from the home-grown political factions that these local elections would have cultivated.
The next must visit is a recent post by Christopher Allbriton in his blog, Back to Iraq.

Heart of Darkness no particular order I witnessed a car bombing next to my hotel, started work for TIME Magazine, watched an interim government unveiled, interviewed a vice president, been mortared more times than I can count, missed two other car bombs by a few minutes, pined for New York and tentatively fell in love with Baghdad.

She’s a city that has seen better days, frankly. As mentioned, the electricity is bad. The gas lines are long — up to 5 km in some places — and U.S. soldiers still break up black market petrol rings even though that’s often the only way for Iraqis to get petrol.

Baghdad is also an incredibly stressful place to live and work, especially as a westerner, as I’ve mentioned. We’re targets, and when you look very western, like I do, you’re constantly aware of eyes on you and the hostility. At restaurants, the waiters sullenly clear your table, sometimes being none too careful about keepingchai or food from spilling on you. The kindness I encountered last year is absent; a western face brings a sullen welcome, calibrated to the bare minimum.


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